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Hyperarousal (Autonomic Nervous System)

refers to “arousal that is excessively over the upper edge of the window of tolerance associated with intense sensations such as agitation, trembling, rapid heart rate, or overwhelming emotions such as rage, terror, or panic” (Ogden & Fisher, 2015, p. 774).

Words associated with hyperarousal can include, as examples: “urge to run, leave, fight, verbally attack; restless, easily startled, jumpy, fidgety, tense, shaky; angry, afraid, enraged, panicked, anxious, nervous, irritated; racing mind, obsessive or repetitive thoughts; easily distracted, dfficulty focusing or concentrating; sense of danger, uneasieness, discomfort, lack of safety; easily overwhelmed or distressed; wound up, hard to relax or go to sleep” (Ogden & Fisher, 2015, p. 231); sympathetic nervous system, protection mode, fight or flight, mobilized (Dana, 2018).




Dana, D. (2018). The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation. W.W. Norton & Company: New York.

Ogden, P. & Fisher, J. (2015). Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment. W.W. Norton & Company: New York.

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